I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good

I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good

On her sophomore record, Alice Skye builds on the emotive songwriting that defined her 2018 debut. The Wergaia singer-songwriter is innately skilled at broaching intimate, personal, and often dark topics in her music. Her songs were greatly effective on the piano-focused Friends With Feelings, but here, a broader range of rhythms, sounds, and instrumentation take those themes and ideas to new, even more affecting heights. The album begins with “Stay in Bed,” a gentle indie track about the fight towards better mental health: “I don’t wanna be this way forever/I’m working on myself to get better at it,” she sings, as the rhythm blooms into a big, warm chorus. “Homesickness,” featuring Jacob Diamond, is soft and somber, Diamond’s warm, deep voice a perfect complement to Skye’s breathy tone. “I know you care for me, but you’re not there for me/I know you’d like to be, but you’re not there,” they sing in turns, later coming together in a duet verse: “I hate that we treat our feelings like they’re not there.” Things get unexpectedly gritty on “Everything Is Great,” a rock-leaning track built on a distorted riff and big percussion. “Party Tricks” is heavier still, with drawn-out grunge guitars adding angst to the dark lyrics: “The part of me that hates me really loves you… I’ll break my own heart for you.” Final track “Wurega Djalin” pares it right back—and is Skye’s first song with lyrics in language as well as English. The soft, somber piano ballad contains lyrics in Wergaia, the native language of her people, which she can only speak a little. The line “Yergan gumbar yerginjan, Wurega Djalin” can be understood as “I am searching, I am listening, I will search, to speak my tongue.” “I only have the words you gave me,” she sings, in English, her voice at its most delicate. “Only got what you didn't take from me.”

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